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  • Memorial Pageant calls for the rescue of European Jewry

    Film

    After word reached America of the Nazi killing of European Jewry, pressure mounted on the Roosevelt administration to help European Jews. To spur action, playwright Ben Hecht prepared a memorial to the Jewish victims of Nazi persecution, "We Will Never Die." The pageant, sponsored by the Zionist Revisionist Bergson Group, was part of a mass demonstration at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Later seen in other US cities, the show was part of the Bergson Group's effort to pressure Washington to act…

    Memorial Pageant calls for the rescue of European Jewry
  • Soviet military advance in Vitebsk

    Film

    The Germans invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941 (Operation "Barbarossa"). German forces occupied Vitebsk in the northeastern region of Belorussia on July 11. Soviet forces seized the initiative from the Germans after the battle of Stalingrad in late 1942 and early 1943. The Soviet army liberated Vitebsk on June 26, 1944, during their summer 1944 offensive. This footage shows military units involved in the fighting and German soldiers captured during the campaign. By the end of the summer, the Soviet…

    Soviet military advance in Vitebsk
  • Liberation of Vilna

    Film

    In June 1944, the Soviet Union launched a massive offensive against the German army in eastern Europe. Soviet forces liberated Vilna in July 1944, after bitter street fighting with the German garrison. They then continued on toward Kovno, the capital of Lithuania. This Soviet footage depicts the battle for Vilna and the final liberation of the city by the Soviet army.

    Liberation of Vilna
  • President Truman attends Potsdam Conference

    Film

    After the sudden death of Franklin D. Roosevelt in April 1945, Vice President Harry S. Truman became president of the United States. Here, President Truman meets with the heads of state of the Soviet Union and Great Britain (Joseph Stalin, Winston S. Churchill, and later Clement Attlee) in Potsdam, near Berlin, to discuss the future of defeated Germany. The leaders agreed to the partition of Germany and Berlin, Germany's capital city, into four zones of occupation: British, French, American, and Soviet.…

    President Truman attends Potsdam Conference
  • Scenes from the liberation of Buchenwald

    Film

    The Buchenwald camp was one of the largest concentration camps. The Nazis built it in 1937 in a wooded area northwest of Weimar in central Germany. US forces liberated the Buchenwald camp on April 11, 1945. When US troops entered the camp, they found more than 20,000 prisoners. This footage shows scenes that US cameramen filmed in the camp, survivors, and the arrival of Red Cross trucks.

    Scenes from the liberation of Buchenwald
  • Nazi atrocities discovered upon the liberation of Buchenwald

    Film

    US forces liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp on April 11, 1945. This footage records examples of Nazi atrocities (shrunken head, pieces of tattooed human skin, preserved skull and organs) discovered by the liberating troops.

    Nazi atrocities discovered upon the liberation of Buchenwald
  • Theresienstadt

    Film

    In response to growing international awareness of Nazi atrocities, the Nazis decided to allow a Red Cross investigation committee to visit the Theresienstadt ghetto in Czechoslovakia. Elaborate measures were taken to disguise conditions in the ghetto and to portray an atmosphere of normalcy. This footage, showing an orchestral performance, is part of a German propaganda film made following the Red Cross visit to Theresienstadt.

    Theresienstadt
  • Sudetenland ceded to Germany

    Film

    This footage shows German forces entering the Sudetenland. Under the terms of the Munich Pact, Germany annexed this largely German-speaking region from Czechoslovakia. Germany, Italy, Britain, and France were party to the pact, which averted war. Czechoslovakia, however, was not permitted to attend the Munich conference. Hitler later violated the Munich Pact by destroying the Czech state in March 1939.

    Sudetenland ceded to Germany
  • Aftermath of battle in Danzig

    Film

    The Treaty of Versailles, imposed on Germany following its defeat in World War I, declared Danzig to be a free city jointly administered by Poland and the League of Nations. Germany bitterly resented the loss of this largely German city, which was also an important port on the Baltic Sea. The return of Danzig to Germany became a central focus of Adolf Hitler's foreign policy. Germany invaded Poland in September 1939. After the invasion of Poland, Germany unilaterally annexed Danzig. This German newsreel…

    Aftermath of battle in Danzig
  • Reichstag fire

    Film

    This footage shows the Reichstag (German parliament) building on the day after it was set on fire. While the origins of the fire on February 27 are still unclear, Hitler blamed Communists for the incident. The Reichstag Fire Decree of February 28, 1933, suspended constitutional guarantees. Communist and Socialist deputies were expelled from the parliament. Shortly after the decree was issued, the Nazis established concentration camps  for the internment of political opponents.

    Reichstag fire

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